Elegant Entertaining: How to WOW Your Friends & Family


October 21, 2022

The candles are lit. You raise your crystal wine glass for a toast. The dining table is set to match a perfectly coordinated, themed evening of entertainment. Homemade dishes are tastefully on display, and their smells fill the room. As you raise a toast with your friends and family, you feel grateful for this gorgeous get-together. You pulled it off! You mastered the art of elegant entertaining.

Is this evening just what you dream about? Do you wish to enhance your hostess skills to showcase your talents to your friends? Well, I’m happy to share that you’re in the right place.

Keep reading to learn techniques to prepare for and pull off the dinner event of the season. Then, get ready to snap photos of your party for your socials!

Why Elegant Entertaining?

Any evening can transform from a simple weekday meal to an extraordinary night to remember with a touch of elegant touches. Your home and dining table are havens for family and friends to gather and celebrate. Hosting a chic dinner party or stylish dessert and wine night for the ladies will undoubtedly impress your circle. 

What’s more, you have the chance to create artful food platters and share delectable meals with your loved ones. Your elegant entertainment ideas will be all the rave. There will be no shortage of perfect pictures during your eloquent evening!

However, I know it can be challenging to decide how your elegant night will look, how the ambiance will feel, and which recipes you’ll use. That’s why I’ve compiled techniques to inspire you, as you start the planning process.

Elegant Entertaining Ideas

Elegant entertaining is an art. As such, millions of possibilities exist. From crafting the party idea to sending invitations and prepping your home for guests, it’s not a task for the faint of heart. However, it’s a fun and sexy way to create your Pinterest-perfect life. Use these inspirational ideas to kick off your next event and ensure you’re the host with the most! 

Elegant Entertaining Party Ideas

Hosting a Dinner Party

Hosting a dinner party is ideal for warmly welcoming guests or family around a stunningly decorated table. To get started, pick a cuisine and theme. Select sophisticated recipes to deliver 5-star quality meals to your guests. Everyone will be in awe of your culinary craft! If you’re doing most of the cooking, stick what you’ve mastered.

Now is not the time to try a new recipe. The stress to perfect that will be too much to handle when you’re thinking of other things. Save that for another time and use your favorite dish that you can prepare with your eyes closed. If you need more ideas for throwing a dinner party, check out our previous blog article HERE.

Coffee and Tea Parties

Why grab Starbucks when you can host an enviable coffee and tea party in your home? Select a menu of tasty pastries, fresh fruit dishes, or homemade biscotti. Craft cappuccinos and espressos. Froth some foamy milk. Bring out your most elegant and dainty tea cups. Elegant entertaining doesn’t have to revolve around dinner entrees! 


If you have an upcoming weekend in your vacation home, it’s the perfect atmosphere to create a brunch to remember. For an elegant brunch beverage, mix a champagne raspberry punch.  You can include a few tasteful breakfast options, like quiches or ricotta pancakes, and balance them with fresh lunch salads. 

Stuck in the city in a tight space? Even better. Small spaces mean more intimate gatherings. When Toni lived in the Upper East Side of New York in her 500 square foot studio apartment, it never stopped her from hosting. The dresser top morphed into the buffet table and her queen size bed became the couch with oversized throw pillows to invite guests to lounge casually.

Standing-room-only scenarios mean more time to mingle, making the party more social event.

Cocktail Parties

Hosting an elegant cocktail party is a sophisticated entertainment affair and is a fabulous way to celebrate successes. To start, choose a signature cocktail for the night. That way, you can ensure your appetizers match the cocktail palate. 

Remember, keep your snacks and appetizers simple and disperse them throughout your space so guests can graze as they mingle. This night is about cocktails, so focus your decorations on the bar area to draw the attention there. Try using kitschy and bold cocktail napkins will give the environment an extra ounce of fun.

Send out Elegant Invitations

Every special event begins with an invitation. Dazzle your guests with personalized invitation cards that capture the essence of your party theme. This is the first chance to set the tone and start the hype. Truly impress your guests by handcrafting your invitation cards if you’re the crafty type, otherwise, digital animated invites sent via text or email will do the trick and can still be elegant.

Include the time and place, of course. Also, add the dress code and a hint of what to expect. If you’re hosting a potluck, include the items your guest might bring, or send it in an upcoming email.

Creating An Elegant Environment

Elegant Decor

With elegant entertaining, decorations can make or break your atmosphere. First, be sure the space is clean and free of clutter. Create a fresh canvas before designing your eloquent display. 

If you’re a visual type-A kinda person, now is a great time to curate a Pinterest board! If you’ve already chosen your cuisine, use a color scheme and decor to match. Many styles of decor exude elegance. For example, elegant decor can be minimalist, chic, rustic, traditional, or modern and still fit the bill.

Elegant decor starts in the entryway, culminates with your meal’s presentation on the plate and ends when the guests walk out the front door. It helps to pay attention to the details. If you’re setting the table, can you add the same greens or flowers on the table that match the fresh greens or flowers on display in the entryway? What about handwriting their names on each place setting with a little party favor so they remember your dinner affair? Even a print out of the menu on heavy card stock paper with the date is a lovely touch of elegance and detail. Intricate and thoughtful touches are bound to impress.

Sexy Stemware

If you’re hosting a dinner party, consider the glasses, cups, plates, platters, bowls, and silverware you’ll use. Elegance is in the details. 

For instance, if your dinner party theme is French, pull out your antique set of French wine glasses you bought during your summer in Marseille. Considerations like this really add the WOW factor and make your guests’ jaws drop!

And of course, no dinner party is complete without some craft cocktails. Etched rocks glasses give a very Mad Men retro vibe or consider my personal favorite: a versatile Nick and Nora coupe is sophisticated and sexy. And right, now, they’re currently on sale.

Elegant Music & Lighting

Music and lighting can transform the mood from fun and friendly to sexy and sophisticated. What’s more, you can do it with just the flip of a few switches!

If you don’t have surround-sound speakers in your dining area, investing in bluetooth speakers like Alexa is an excellent idea. Customize a playlist for your evening so you know it won’t be off-beat. Set the volume low so that conversations can carry on.

For lighting, utilize lots of lamps, string lights, and candles. Avoid overhead lights. Be creative with your lighting choices; they’re part of the art! 

Establish a Dress Code

Your guests will be the life of the party, so why not ensure they enjoy matching the theme, too? Add a dress code to your elegant invitations and discuss dress ideas with your guests as your enchanting night approaches. This is a fun way to create excitement, hype and also sets the tone for your dinner affair.

Elegant Entertaining Ideas: What’s Next?

Now, your head must be spinning with elegant entertaining ideas. You’re probably itching to check your calendar for the next best date for your special night. 

Would you like to treat yourself to fresh ideas and inspiration to entertain delivered straight to your inbox?

If you’re like to get our full HOW-TO, plus DONE-FOR-YOU resources and lists, you’re invited to grab your FREE premiere issue of HOST | Monthly Food + Entertaining Digital Magazine today so you can WOW everyone who sits at your table, no matter what your current culinary experience.

We can’t wait to see what amazing dinners you’ll host this holiday season!

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